Help with hay lingo!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ~PrairieGirl~, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. ~PrairieGirl~

    ~PrairieGirl~ Well-Known Member

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    This is the first year we have the need for hay. We have been buying a few bales at atime up at the local co-op but I want to start calling around to get some larger amounts of hay.

    1. What questions should I ask about the hay?

    2.I don't know basic hay terminology, is there a site that has the basics. I want to at least sound like I know what I am talking about. I am assuming you can get better hay at abetter price that way. :shrug:

    I have 6 goats and I have heard that if you tell them that you might get some pretty crappy hay, is that true?

    Alos any info that you think might be helpful would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Cheryl
     
  2. Lynne

    Lynne Well-Known Member

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    When I call about an ad in the paper first thing I ask if it is not already stated is what type of hay is it? Grass, timothy, alfalfa? When was it baled? If local you will know how the weather has been, right. What size are the bales? 30-40 pounds? How much for X amount of bales. Once there at the site, it has to be green or close to it; I'm not looking for straw. Smell the hay, it should be sweet smelling. Stick your hand into the bale to feel for heat and pull some out of the middle and check for mold. A heavy, short bale will get opened up to ensure that the batch was not baled wet.
    Hope this helps some, when I find a good source for hay I will stick with the same supplier for as long as they are still baling hay. If you find a reliable source you can also see if they sell out of the field to save a little money; also, if you need delivery some charge by the bale and others charge a flat rate.
     

  3. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I was in P.E.I. a few weeks age and they used the term silage and said it was different than hay. I understand that hay is different than straw, but what is silage?
     
  4. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    goats like the highest quality hay....alfalfa or mixed grass that you can find....

    no musty smell(mold toxic to goats), not dusty(an indication its old or overdry)

    My goats like a nice coarse (but not woody) green/gray tinted hay...if it smells and looks good to you...chances are the goats will like it.....

    get a bale from a couple different places if you can and let the goats sample....thats how I chose my hay-maker :)
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hay has seed heads (where protein value is) and straw is usually like oats that have been threshed....

    Hay is dry stored

    Sillage is wet stored (fermented actually hay(meaning green cut and wet), corn barley and hops :) )
     
  6. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Do they get a buzz from the fermentation?
     
  7. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When fed in winter it is slowly introduced to prevent "tippy" cows....rotty apples have similar affect if you feed too many to a ruminant type beast
     
  8. Lynne

    Lynne Well-Known Member

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    Do they get a buzz from the fermentation?

    Not that I'm aware of; locally, grasses cut and stored wet are called haylage, silage is made from corn.
     
  9. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They use both corn and grass (together) here....first the grass to get things heated about 2-3 weeks before corn chop goes into the pit.....WHAT A STINK!
     
  10. bargarguy

    bargarguy Well-Known Member

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    When it was cut normally means what cut, first cut hay normally sells a little higher if taken before it went to seed because of the nutritional value, not sure what Mpillow was stating about seed heads but around here anything gone to seed will be of lower quality and should be priced lower.
     
  11. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    not "gone to seed" but formed(think Timothy hay) clover in there too which some has flowers..
    ....and straw is without the head from grains....not much if any feed value..


    Hmmm...I'm going to go pick thru the hay and see if I can identify some more things.... :nerd:

    Goats like leaves too and brambles(blackberries) ...green and brown.....I rake up leaves and let them pick thru in the Fall....they eat acorns too. An article was written about a lady who dried leaves for her goats for winter treats...

    BTW second cut is way more preferred here :shrug:
     
  12. bargarguy

    bargarguy Well-Known Member

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    Ahhhh yes I agree with that Mpillow but there is a fine line, I guess thats why some consider hay making an art
     
  13. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    First question we always get it "Has it been rained on?"

    Be sure to ask that one. The quality of the hay goes down if it has been rained on after it was cut and before it was baled.
    1. What kind of hay? How much alfalfa if any? What kind of grass?

    2. Rained on?

    3. Cut when? First cutting? second?

    4. How much do the bales weigh?

    5. Cheaper if you pick up out of the field?

    Look it over like Lynne says!

    If you are where it has been exceptionally dry (drought)you will need to have it tested for nitrates.
     
  14. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Whole corn plant, shattered whole ears of corn, alfalfa, whole oats plant, whole barley plant, etc. can be cut, chopped into 3/4" long pieces, and put in an airtight structure. The sugar in it ferments into something like pickle juice, and so the feed is kept in vinager - basically. Need 40-65% moisture of the product, and airtight storage.

    If any oxygen gets in during the fermernting, it creates bad mold.

    No alchohol made in the process. :)

    --->Paul
     
  15. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Natural fermentation will give alcohol...

    Boosted or innoculated silage will have much less if any alcohol as the natural yeasts are inferior to the innoculants.....
     
  16. WindowOrMirror

    WindowOrMirror ..where do YOU look? Supporter

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    You want hay that has a correct water content (varies by forage type), smells good, looks good, has low stalk / straw content, and non-mature seed groups. (The last two are a product of WHEN the hay is cut).

    When they hay is cut has a major effect on nutrition. For instance, timothy / clover mix that is cut "tender and young" (right time) gets you in the 11-12% protein range. If they hay is cut three weeks later (clover blooms, timothy heads longer than 1.5"), protein content falls as low as 6%!

    Examine a bale of what you're thinking of buying. Ask the owner to crack one fully open. Feel the inside to ensure it isn't too hot or wet. Smell the hay. Good hay smells GOOD. Place the underside of your arm against the bale and push... if it's rough and hurts a bit, it's pretty "stemmy" and was likely cut late. If it feels almost as good as laying on lush green grass, it's probably pretty good (the underside of your arm is pretty tender). There should be some green left, especially on the inside of the bale.

    Ask to ensure that hay wasn't rained on after being "put up". Ask if the hay was "first cutting" or later. Later cuttings aren't as good (almost always). Ask if the hay is new (this year's cut).

    Note: Goat's will eat anything, but that' doesn't mean it's a good idea. Goats need 4% (or so) of their daily weight in forage (give or take by type). For a 125 lb goat, that's 5 lb of hay a day (something around a flake or two of good hay). Then, add a supplement with minerals or a mineral block designed for goats and you should be good (along with a LOT of water).

    That's it for now.

    R
     
  17. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, because around here, 2nd cut sells for more then 1st.

     
  18. Lynne

    Lynne Well-Known Member

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    I think that is because the first and last cuttings have more weeds and more of a chance of being rained on; what really matters is the person managing the hay fields, do they fertilize, do they reseed after a couple years....
    JMO
     
  19. ~PrairieGirl~

    ~PrairieGirl~ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, this has help alot.

    I found a woman selling hay from her barn. She usually doesn't sell hay but produces for her own animals, her dh put up a sign at the co-op. She said she sold a few of her horses last year and didn't use what she had and they are coming into second cutting now and are running out of space. She offered me what ever I want as far as this years hay or last and said if I didn't like a bale I could just skip it. So I go on Saturday to get some hay :happy:

    An article was written about a lady who dried leaves for her goats for winter treats...

    Do you know whre the article is or how to do it? The entire back of my property is "ankle saws" I think they are actually dew berries and the goats love them and there are way to many for them to eat . Saving some would be great!
     
  20. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just pick some and dry one or two layers on an old screen in the sun turn over once to dry completly :shrug: Just like drying hay.....I don't think the article gave directions but you may be able to to the stalk and all hung upside down like herb drying too :shrug: